Table 4: Classification of life-ending acts without explicit patient request according to drugs and doses used and expressed wish for life ending*
Drug(s) usedAdministration scheduleExpressed wish to end lifeNo expressed wish to end lifeTotal
Opioid dose no higher than necessary for symptom control, with or without low-dose benzodiazepinesStable dose over final 3 d117211
Gradual increase in opioids over final 3 d128213
Strong increase in opioids on final day235
Opioid doses or sedatives not normally used as part of mainstream palliative careOpioid doses exceeding symptom requirements, but either stable or gradually increasing, with or without low-dose benzodiazepines314
Opioid doses exceeding symptom requirements and strongly rising on last day, with or without low-dose benzodiazepines32611
Strong sedatives (barbiturates, propofol or high-dose benzodiazepines)379120
Unspecified doses of opioids, benzodiazepines or both112

*Reported by the physicians themselves: drugs, doses, opioid course in final 3 days, and whether opioid doses were higher than necessary to relieve symptoms.
Judgments of low-dose v. high-dose benzodiazepines were made by the authors:
Low-dose benzodiazepines: lorazepam ≤ 2.5 mg; diazepam ≤ 20 mg or no dose indicated; midazolam ≤ 2 mg
High-dose benzodiazepines: lorazepam > 2.5 mg; midazolam > 2 mg or no dose indicated.